While I am no professional, I do decorate a lot of Christmas trees for my own home. The most I have had in my house at any one time is fourteen. That's a lot of decorating! Here are the steps I follow to get a pretty, sparkly tree.
Set the tone! If you like Christmas music and the atmosphere is right for hot cocoa, go for it!
1. We always use prelit trees. That being said, the first thing we always do is to make sure the lights work! Skipping this step might require you to remove all your hard work, then fix the lights and redoing the decorations! Turn off your lights before you start, if you are like me and will sweat while you decorate. This keeps the heat to a minimum and let's you have the wonder of turning on the lights when you are done!
2. Add sparkly items near the trunk. I use inexpensive sparkly ornaments found at the Dollar Tree. These ornaments have a single job: reflect back the lights to create a more sparkly tree.
3. Add some larger ornaments or items. Tuck in some large ornaments
inside the branches. Wire in larger items, like a lantern, into the
tree. Make sure the lantern has picks or fun items inside!
4. Add garland. Those shorter, four foot pieces are perfect. Start about 1/5th of the way down from the top and tuck in garland. I use 3-5 pieces or one long one, depending on the height of the tree.
5. Now it's time to add in your ribbon. Some people like to keep their ribbon in long pieces. That makes a beautiful tree. I like to cut 2 foot sections of ribbon and tuck them here and there. Using two or more strands of ribbon at a time adds interest and visual appeal.
6. Twist in any picks that you like, tucking them in here and there. This is a good way to add that consistency you want, by having 10-20 picks of the same type.
7. If you like flowers, I'd add them in now.
8. Now it is time to add the ornaments! I make piles: Showcase ornaments, Large ornaments, Sparkly ornaments, Monochromatic ornaments and whatever other piles you need. I add the largest ornaments to the bottom first, adding in a bit of each pile as I go, finishing with the smallest ornaments at the top of the tree. For this tree, my ornaments were starfish and icicles.
9. Add in your filler, twigs, pinecones, whatever you like!
10. Decorate the top, starting about 1/5 of the way down, working up. Add your tree topper, if you are using one.
11. Add the tree skirt, step back, and tweak! Tweak, tweak and tweak some more! I haven't found the right tree skirt yet, so we are doing without for the moment!
Turn on the lights and be dazzled!
I would love to hear any variations that you might have in decorating your tree. It's good to put many ideas together to get the perfect tree scenario!
Postscript: Remember when I said tweak, and tweak some more? Well, I wasn't satisfied with what seems to be a large green space on the left. I found this adorable tin ornament and it seems to be what I needed!